Yankees Righthander Yoendrys Gomez Impresses
TAMPA, Fla. — One look at the Yankees' Top 30 prospect list entering the season should have made it abundantly clear that one of their system's biggest strengths is its pitching depth. Of those 30 prospects, exactly two-thirds are pitchers.
On Thursday, during an intrasquad doubleheader between New York's two clubs in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, it became clear that there is even more arm talent ready to bloom. The day's most interesting arm belonged to 18-year-old Venezuelan righthander Yoendrys Gomez, who flummoxed his teammates over five shutout innings with eight strikeouts.
Gomez was signed for $50,000 two years ago out of Venezuela on the strength of his projectable body and fastball that already touched 92 mph. He's added just five pounds to his listed dimensions of 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds when he signed, but the fastball has already taken a step forward.
He sat between 92-95 mph in the first inning of the game, then settled in to the 91-94 mph range for the next four innings. The pitch featured natural sink and cut life, and he threw it for strikes to both sides of the plate.
He complemented the fastball mainly with an mid-to-high-70s curveball that showed deep 11-to-5 break. He mostly landed the pitch in the zone but also buried a few for chases. The curveball's break was a little loopy at times, but Gomez clearly has feel to spin the pitch.
He also threw a mid-80s changeup with moderate fading action that was willing to use against both righties and lefties. He got swings-and-misses on the pitch, but it was used most in the zone rather than as a chase pitch.
Two scouts in attendance came away impressed with Gomez, particularly with the feel for his secondaries and the overall ingredients for someone just starting his path up the ladder.
He's still tall and skinny with plenty of room to add strength, but Gomez's outing on Thursday showed there's already plenty to dream on.
NOTES: Massive 17-year-old outfielder Anthony Garcia was at it again on Thursday, showing huge thump from both sides of the plate. He crushed a home run to left field as a righthander, and earlier in the day, from the left side of the plate, just missed a massive home run that would have cleared the team's player-development complex over the right-field wall. He went 4-for-6 on Thursday, bringing his overall line this year to .300/.315/.529 with three home runs. There's plenty of swing and miss to his game, as shown by his 22 strikeouts to 2 walks, but the power is among the best in the system already. ... Another 17-year-old, shortstop Roberto Chirinos, who ranked No. 20 among the 2017 international free agent class, continued his fine work at shortstop. On one play, he ranged deep in the hole to corral a ball, then showed enough athleticism and arm strength to flip off-balance to second in time to complete the fielder's choice. ... Righthander Tanner Myatt, the Yankees' 11th-rounder this year out of Florence-Darlington Tech (S.C.) JC, was visited by a trainer after he was seen shaking out his right arm after a pitch in the second inning. He stayed in for the rest of the inning but left before the next frame.